Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 Dec 2005

ESPN Ombudsman Rips Young, Irvin

I respect ESPN's decision to hire George Solomon to act as an ombudsman, critiquing the entire organization as he sees fit. Among the criticisms in Solomon's most recent column:

Steve Young's comments about Chris Simms were "An example of a commentator talking without knowing what he was talking about."

Michael Irvin's problem "is he still believes he's an athlete/celebrity."

"Suzy Kolber does an excellent job as a reporter for ESPN and as a TV pitch person for Chevrolet. I just wish she would choose one of the two jobs."

The "Jacked Up" segment is "borderline" glorification of violence.

And, my personal favorite, "Some viewers wondered whether Sunday Night Football commentators Mike Patrick and Paul Maguire had done sufficient homework in the area of urban planning and rebuilding of devastated cities before their Nov. 27 discussion on the future of New Orleans as a community and NFL franchise." I would add only that some viewers also wonder whether Patrick and Maguire have done sufficient homework in the area of professional football.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 30 Dec 2005

47 comments, Last at 01 Jan 2006, 5:35pm by Tampa Bay Mike

Comments

1
by michael (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 11:16am

ESPN's ombdusman is a very important step for the company: It's important that they've got someone on staff who is publically responsible for pointing out the stupid crap that we (the public) all do on a regular basis here and elswhere.

mind you, it remains to be seen if the company will act on any of this information: I expect/hope a "One year later" article from Solomon next year and hope/pray he finds that some things have changed.

2
by djcolts (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 11:40am

So far, I've been very pleased with Solomon's monthly column. I hope ESPN seriously listens to some of his criticisms - because more often than not he's right.

3
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 11:44am

I know it's not the popular opinion, but I actually agree with him regarding Berman's shtick. It really got old, but since I've hardly gotten to see Primetime this year, the few times I have caught it have been surprisingly amusing and entertaining. Maybe the time away from it made me less sick of it, I dunno.

I question whether Bill Walton should be covering any games at all, since he, you know, really sucks. But then again, really sucking never stopped ESPN from giving someone a major announcing gig. Other than that, though, I have no problem with him covering his son's games, any more than I would have if Phil Simms called a Bucs game, or when Bob Griese called Michigan games in the late 90s, or any ex-athlete commenting on his former team. You have to realize that these things can happen, just like they can in any other news field of news. They're hired because they know the field from working in it - how long can it possibly be before they'll report on a friend, family member, or former employer/ee? As long as the situation is known, and full disclosure is made, fine. It's just another filter to put the information through, and decide for yourself how much is true and how much is tainted by nepotism.

I don't get why it's bad for ESPN people to do commercials. Is Suzy Kolber working for a car show or magazine on the side, that someone might think there's a conflict of interest? About her though, I think she's not bringing much to the table as a sideline reporter. Of course, that's because nearly all sideline reporting (except injury updates) is meaningless drivel, and I hate seeing her wasted in that role, answering to the whims of the Stooges. I thought she was excellent on NFL Matchup, and seemed to have a better grasp on strategy than Merril Hoge ever did. I think SNF would have been better with her in the booth instead of either Patrick or Maguire, possibly both. I rip on Theismann a lot, but away from those two he's usually not that bad, and at one point I actually thought he was a decent analyst, before the decline of ESPN brought him down with it. But my memories could be deceiving me.

Agree fully on "Jacked Up". That quote about only showing clean, non-injuring hits is total BS. When I stopped watching it was when they were laughing about one player (and no, I don't remember who) getting up, stumbling around, and falling over after a vicious, illegal helmet-to-helmet hit that was later fined by the league. Maybe their standards have actually changed since then, but somehow I doubt it.

4
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 11:58am

It seems like Berman has had something of a rebound year. He hasn't been quite as annoying. Could it be related to the haricut?

They should leave Kolber alone. She's one of ESPN's best. She should be the anchor on Day 1 of the draft - so much better than Berman - but ESPN will never take that away from him.

"Jacked Up" is easily the most juvenile, god-awful segment on ESPN.

5
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 12:29pm

Reporters should not be endorsing anything. It's a pretty obvious question of journalistic ethics.

6
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 12:36pm

Heck, if sports commentators restricted their bloviations to those items that they had knowledge of, 90% of the industry would cease to exist.

7
by michael (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 12:38pm

I thought she was excellent on NFL Matchup, and seemed to have a better grasp on strategy than Merril Hoge ever did.

I absolutely positively agree with that - Kolber has a rediculous amount of football smarts, for a man or a woman, was a great host, and served as a very nice counter to the other personalities in studio.

Matchup is still a great show, because nowhere else on ESPN do you get the kind of play breakdown they do there: It's nice to have a show that is almost entirely focused on strategy as opposed to "fluff" pieces.

8
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 12:47pm

I also totally agree about "Jacked Up". I even threw an e-mail message about it into the virtual circular file known as Contact Us on their website.

It's disgusting. The worst part about it is that there are a number of perfectly clean, solid, legal hits that they could show every week, but for the most part, it's spear after spear after spear. They ought to rename the segment "Concussion City".

One of these days, those clowns are going to show a hit that ends up paralyzing a player, or doing other long-term permanent damage. I doubt anything short of that will change their views on that segment.

9
by DNL (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 12:55pm

The ombudsman is worthless until he takes Whitlock to task for his utter idiocy.

10
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 1:33pm

I'll disagree with Harris (#5). As a former news reporter, I agree that reporters should not endorse anything, but the one thing missing is that the reason reporters do not endorse is the potential conflict of interest. In other words, at some point the reporter may need to objectively report on that company/person/etc. Will Suzy Kolber ever need to do an objective story about Chevy? I doubt it, unless there is some scandal about the Chevy Player of the Game (!).

So, I don't see any problem with her doing the Chevy gig. A sports reporter is not under the same constraints as a general news reporter.

11
by Mikey (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 1:59pm

I have to give ESPN credit for hiring Solomon given that they were under absolutely no pressure to bring in an ombudsman. It's pretty rare for a media outlet - sports or otherwise - to be proactive about examining themselves critically.

Also, I have to mention that I thought Berman was hilarious on Christmas during halftime of the MIN-BAL game. First he did the CH-GB highlight's with his usual gusto, then he did highlights from the LA-MIA NBA game and sounded like he was going to fall asleep or just walk off the set entirely. "And, uh...Kobe.. here he is....he had 36. Then Shaq...there you see two of his....points" The translation: "You don't give a flying sh*t about this and neither do I but ESPN has the rights to this garbage so let's just muddle through it together." Hilarious.

12
by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 2:13pm

I'm with ya Purds. Back when I was in the Broadcasting game, the station rules were typically that weather and sports guys/girls could do endorsements, but not the news desk except in very rare and very specific instances.

13
by Peder (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 2:27pm

Re #11, sports reporters being treated differently than regular reporters. I wonder about the ethics of having former players announcing on their former teams. They've got insight, but obvious conflicts. Not just team loyalties, but also former teamates. Can we trust Player X to give us the real story on Player X1?
Of course this is just reporting about sports, so the consequences aren't as bad as more regular reporting. But I can't help wondering if one of the reasons that ESPN has declined is that it has gotten too close to the athletes.

14
by David (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 3:00pm

I'm sorry, but I can't agree that some journalist are more equal than other journalists.

Look, America's biggest industry in terms of gross revenues is the copyright industry, of which sports entertainment is clearly a major player. I find it hard to believe that a sports journalist could do his job "without fear or favor" when he's received no significant training, has never covered another beat, just left the industry in question, and has a reasonable expectation of being hired by that industry in the future. I find it hard to believe that a sports journalist can cover her beat without fear or favor when she is taking money from a major financial backer of that industry.

If that industry was steel, computers, automobiles, or nuclear power, we'd have a presumption of corruption or undue influence in such a situation. But when the entertainment industry is its own watchdog or when its watchdogs pay for the privilege of covering the news, it is in their economic interests to create different standards, standards that are just unacceptable.

The fact is, Howard Cosell, may he rest in piece, was right: ex-players who have no experience in journalism should not be acting as journalists. Working in the broadcast version of the op-ed page is fine. But not when it comes to covering breaking news on Sunday afternoons.

15
by Matlock, Attorney at Law (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 3:03pm

"...and others object to being called 'knuckleheads and weasels' by the popular Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser when they sign off nightly..."

And with that, I've lost all faith in humanity.

And I rather like "Jacked Up", when I manage to catch. Then again, I watched Jackass, so...yeah.

I like ESPN having an Ombudsman, but I don't agree with him on everything. I don't care if Suzy Kolber does an ad, Bill Walton covers a Lakers game (at least, no more than when he covers any game), or if Michael Irvin goes to TO's birthday party (and honestly, who in their right mind would get upset over being called a knucklehead at the end of PTI. Seriously).

Kolber is fine for reasons #10 covered.

Walton and Irvin are a whole other monster, but, because it is just sports, I give them a little more breathing room. If they can maintain objectivity in their analysis in spite of their relationships, wonderful, but, if not, they're still only talking about games, and it's of no great concern to me whether Irvin is being nice to TO because he went to his birthday party.

Others may (and apparently do) disagree.

16
by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 3:05pm

The Jacked Up segment that bothered me the most was last year, when Roy Williams of the Cowboys delivered a big hit on Tai Streets of the Lions. What bothered me was that they celebrated the hit but didn't point out that Streets beat Williams for a third-and-long conversion on the play. Seeing as it was the only good play I can remember Streets making with the Lions, it seems like an indictment of Williams' coverage skills more than an example of his prowess as a hitter.

17
by MdM (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 3:10pm

Who cares if Michael Irvin is objective? Or Susy Kolber for that matter. I thought this was entertainment, not covering Guantanamo Bay.

18
by David (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 3:18pm

Ahh... if it's "just entertainment" rather than America's biggest and most export-driven industry, then you should have no problem with this proposal:

All news commentators (sports, news, whatever) should read the news in full clown makeup.

If it's just entertainment, then ditching the suits and ties for the fashion stylings of Bozo the Clown should be perfectly acceptable, no?

Tip of the pen to : sci-fi author Phillip K. [deleted], from his stories "Stand-by" and "What'll We Do with Ragland Park?"

19
by Nate (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 3:33pm

No experience was worse than watching the 2001(?) Arizona-Illinois elite eight game, and dealing with the refs and Bill Walton's one sided announcing (his son played on 'Zona). I would rather amputate my lower leg with a plastic spork than listen to that drivel again.
On the other hand, I remember watching Bob Griese broadcasting a game of Brian and being very impressed at his equanimity.

20
by Nate (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 3:35pm

That's Philip K. D1ck, for those not in the know.

21
by Mercury815 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 3:49pm

Regarding post 3 from Trogdor, you make an interesting point that Suzy Kolber would have been put to better use in the booth and moving one of the Stooges to the sideline. I agree wholeheartedly, and would actually love to see a woman who is knowledgable about football broadcast a game. That was one trick that Monday Night Football never tried, and it might have actually increased viewership and broadened the game's appeal. Of course, if you could get a female version of Howard Cosell in the booth, ABC might have found what they were looking for over the past 20 years. Instead, we had to make due with that Tim McGraw entertainment/torture.

22
by MdM (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 4:02pm

Uh...well I guess I'm subversive, but I don't see anything wrong with sports journalists wearing clown outfits. Although I think it's more appropriate to wear football gear. What about Sam Ryan in an pink TO jersey? But why did you say all news commentators? I said sports...sports is entertainment--I made no claims that hard news is entertainment.

23
by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 4:31pm

No, Kolber will likely never report on Chevy (though she might report on a player with who endorses Chevy). That's also beside the point. The only thing reporters have to "sell" is their credibillity. Kolber might be able to skate on Chevy, but what about Dan Patrick and those pain-relieving patches he shills for? What if it turns out they're dangerous? Would he report that story and could you believe anything he said if he did that story? Notice, John Clayton and Chris Mortensen, possibly ESPN's two best reporters, don't do ads. If my newspaper gives me an ethics policy saying I can't accept a sandwhich from a potential source, and I've got that policy in my desk, it stands to reason that sports reporters/commentators shouldn't be doing ads. (Of course, I always say that if you can be bought for a sandwhich no rule can help you, but nobody listens to me.)

24
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 4:34pm

I think the first thing to mention with Patrick and Maguire is their ineptitude (ineptness?) at football broadcasting. Then you can move on to critiquing stuff like their discussion of New Orleans...

25
by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 5:12pm

Call me cynical, but I think there's a much more obvious reason that Clayton and Pasquerelli don't do advertisments.

26
by dfarrar777 (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 5:19pm

dis·in·gen·u·ous

adj.

1. Not straightforward or candid; insincere or calculating: “an ambitious, disingenuous, philistine, and hypocritical operator, who... exemplified... the most disagreeable traits of his time� (David Cannadine).

2. Pretending to be unaware or unsophisticated; faux-naïf.

3. The act of hiring an ombudsman in an attempt to deflect well-earned criticism of a move away from legitimate sports journalism and toward a daytime talk/nighttime reality programming point of view.

If they want to be a shiny, loud vehicle with no lasting merit, fine. They're well on their way. It's the attempt at retroactive integrity I find repulsive.

Of what real use is an ombudsman to a network that knowingly and willingly (most would say eagerly) keeps Michael Irvin on the payroll?

27
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 5:43pm

I actually enjoy "Jacked Up". Big hits are a part of the game and saying they shouldn't be included is like saying they shouldn't highlight a big time catch. They are all a part of what makes football great and it's a logical fallacy to exclude one hit but not another, you must exclude all hitting if you want to take that stance and just go to touch football.

I love Suzy she is the most intelligent analysts on ESPN except for Jaws and possibly Mort.

Besides your all ignoring the biggest travesty to ever occur at ESPN:

Tori "No Game" Holt as a guest analyst in this years draft. Talk about a brainless jock.

28
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 5:44pm

Also, if Irvin, TJ or any of the other former players want to laugh about a hit on someone then IMO they can do that cause they have been there. You all are just sounding like politically correct sissies.

29
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 6:13pm

Boy we have a bunch of philosophical ninnies around these days. First one person brings uses "morality" in a case where the term has no bearing.

And now Dr. Evil is making odd claims about what is logical/logical fallicies, that as far as I can tell have no logical content themsleves.

There is nothing illogical about removing certain types of contact with a game. Hell they could change the rules so the players could only hit each other with there dicks. It might be silly as hell, but there is nothing illogical about it.

The rules in sports are stipulative and you can make them whatever you like. You could have a rule that says you cannot hit a player if you will hit them with over a certain threshold of kinetic energy, nothing illgoical about that although it would be incredibly difficult to enforce (hockey has a penalty approximating this, its called CHARGING and prevents players from taking more than three strides before hit).

Beside that, I think you are just missing the overall point of the jacked-up criticism.

Big-Hits while a part fo football are not a very important part and they cuase a lot fo injuries and are also often the result of poor technique. Glorifying poor technique/possible injuries on TV seems a little irresponsible.

I would also agree with the point that the whole segment is juvenille and tired anyway.

I would 100 times prefer to watch the 10 best blocks of the week then the 10 most viscious borderline illegal hits.

30
by Adam (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 7:35pm

ESPN still shows sports? I had no idea.

1. I can't stand Suzy Kolber. I didn't really watch her on Matchup but her sideline reporting is absolutely awful in the meaningless content, her delivery of said meaningless content, and the fact she didn't kiss Joe Namath.

2. The Steve Youngs of sports broadcasting are what has driven me away from sports talk radio, sports talk television shows, pre game shows, post game shows.....etc.

Anyone see him the weak of the Steelers-Bears game? He basically said the Steelers had their collective nuts chopped off and were nothing more than 53 pre-pubescent 12 year old girls walking around in training bras.

Nice call Steve.

3. Ignoring everything I said about.....I actually like Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilson. I don't like the show when one of them is off......but together, I think they work well. I don't always agree and don't always think they know what they're talking about, but they're a good show.

4. Around The Horn should have been cancelled before it hit the airwaves.

5. Jason Whitlock is bizarre.

31
by Reinhard (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 7:58pm

Big hits are not usually the result of poor technique. They are the result of a smart defender being in the right place. They are the result of baiting the quarterback or ball carrier in a certain way. How come its usually good defenders making it on there? Maybe all you guys are really saying is that they should include some nice clean hits too. Jacked up is only a very small segment on the show, besides that, all you can see are TD's so its nice to see at least SOME hits.

32
by David A. (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 9:11pm

First, the major problem with the ESPN ombudsman is that he DOES NOT cover web content... this, despite being available only in a tiny corner of the web site itself. I sent a long email to him detailing every questionable issue in one day's worth of Page2 columns, and I only got back a curt email from his assistant telling me he only addresses TV and radio.

Second, if someone is to have full journalistic credibility, they shouldn't commercially endorse anything. Period. It's not just that there might be a conflict of interest at one point, but the appearance that the journalist has a price. Kolber for Chevy? I'd say no. Patrick for StubHub.com? No. Joe Buck for Budweiser? No. Keith Jackson for Gatorade? No. It's one thing to read ads on the air for a particular event's sponsors, because the announcer is not being paid by those sponsors, rather (s)he is announcing for the broadcasting company and no endorsement is implied. As a corrollary, it's okay for John Madden, Troy Aikman, and other "color commentator" types to do ads because their role is not that of journalist, but expert opinion.

33
by Björn (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 9:17pm

I love the hits on Jacked Up. What they should get rid of is a bunch of old men yelling "JACKED UP" every three freakin seconds.

Regarding the clown suit news idea, given what the majority the major news anchors are reporting, wouldn't it be more appropriate?

I like Chris Berman because he gives shout outs to the CFL.

34
by Björn (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 9:22pm

RE: #32

I would argue that a sports reporter reading ads during airtime that the network is being paid for is equally, if not more, discomforting. It indicates that the entity that employs/controls the journalist has a price.

And the network costs much much more than a sandwich.

35
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 9:27pm

I see those same guys who occasionally "jack someone up" missing a lot of tackles because they are leading with their heads and shoulders instead of wrapping up. I cannot tell you how many times this season I have seen a Safety run up and pop a player with his shoulder only to have the player bounce off and get 3 or 4 more yards.

36
by Browns Dude (not verified) :: Fri, 12/30/2005 - 10:12pm

"Hell they could change the rules so the players could only hit each other with there dicks."

Somewhere Kordell Stewart is just loggin off Football Outsiders and is working out and studying football more than ever.

Kordell is a dreamer.

37
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Sat, 12/31/2005 - 2:08am

Yeah well I'd prefer an eternity in hell listening to Suzy Kolber and The Playmaka analyze the post-corner route than EVER hear Tory "No Game" Holt speak another word..EVER.

38
by Gonzo (not verified) :: Sat, 12/31/2005 - 6:26am

Re #30

No, Around the Horn should continue to remain on the air for one reason. . .the hope that one day, on air, Woody Paige will cause Jay Mariotti's head will physically explode. Can we all agree that this is a service that would be applauded? If Hallmark made cards for that, I would SO send one to the person responsible for making it happen.

Actually, I don't mind ATH that much. . .it's like the Sports Reporters from back in the days where Bill Conlin and Mike Lupica would basically yell at each other for half an hour with Mitch Albom sliding in the occasional smart-arse comment.

39
by Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Person (not verified) :: Sat, 12/31/2005 - 7:46am

Sure, it's easy to say that sports journalists are somehow lesser than their "serious" counterparts, but I don't believe in accepting mediocraty. What if, instead of the announcers we all know and love, EVERY mainstream sports talk show had at least an element of the analysis and insight that goes on in FO and on the discussion boards? Or, what if they at least had some accountability? Reading about DVOA when you never have before is learning, and peple need to do more of that! Football can teach you how to think, or it can "entertain" and teach you how to not think. I'd like to think it can do both. Intelligent sports analysis would ultimately contribute to making the world a better place.

40
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Sat, 12/31/2005 - 1:51pm

ATH is like Emmy winning television compared to 1st and 10 or Cold Pizza with the king of the jackasses Skip Gayless.

41
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Sat, 12/31/2005 - 1:54pm

How is Irvin not a celebrity anymore and why does this guy think that HE makes those determinations?

42
by Nick (not verified) :: Sat, 12/31/2005 - 4:10pm

In grad school work in Public Policy we actually had individuals who charted the airtime provided to political candidates from the various parties on nightly news during the election cycle. I'd be facinated to see similar reporting on ESPN's coverage of Baseball and College Football. Certainly the Yankees, Sox, and USC are very good teams who deserve some disproportionate coverage. However, I don't think I'd be far off to suggest that the Yankees and Sox get similar coverage to all remaining teams in MLB combined.

Another disgusing example was when - after the Fresno State game - ESPN ran a trailer on the bottom of the screen saying, "Why Reggie Bush won the Heisman trophy on Saturday Night". My wife actually got confused and asked me if it had been awarded already. Presenting opinion as fact is a big issue for news networks - and these types of acts are clear signs that ESPN has given up on news.

I'm more scared now as they have meaningful contracts with all the major sports (MLB, NFL, NBA, College Hoops, College Football). Where else can we go? Screw the Yankees, break up ESPN.

43
by ejmg (not verified) :: Sat, 12/31/2005 - 5:28pm

The criticism of the "Jacked Up" segment is asinine. The entire National Football League glorifies violence if you want to get right down to it. It's the nature of the sport. The segment spotlights clean hits that most guys pop back up from . . . if you don't like hitting, why are you watching football?

44
by james/Dave Chappelle (not verified) :: Sat, 12/31/2005 - 9:05pm

1. Jayson Whitlock is on ESPN because he has more SWAGGER THAN ANY OTHER SPORTS REPORTER. Judging him by the Kiznontent of the stizzories that he reports is DUMM.
2. I went back and checked. Kolber's RVOA has definitely gone down since she started pitching for Chevrolet. Hodge's RPAR is unfortunately still negative.

3. Jacked up is a decent segment. I don't go around asking people if they saw that fundamentally sound curl route for 11 yards on 3rd and 10. I ask them if they saw Tai Streets get %#%(^)$# up.
4. I checked Irvin's adjusted Line stats*(information from Bogata, Columbia) and it seems that he is slightly less "productive" than the average Stock Broker or U.S President.

*The U.S average is .5 lines of cocaine per day. Irvin is slightly under that average with .25. Avg broker is at 20 per week while avg U.S president is off the charts with 45.

Hey guys I gotta go. There's a group of hooded white men outside, I think they mean business. Zippidy doo dah.

45
by Ted Max (not verified) :: Sun, 01/01/2006 - 3:27pm

I have never understood why Kolber, who seems so qualified (a lot more than most of the clowns they put on ESPN) has always had scrub jobs rather than any of the top anchor or play-by-play positions. She should be done paying her dues by now.

Actually, I think I understand it just fine: She's a woman. In the male-first world of sports reporting, no highly competent woman will ever take the place of a babbling overweight middle-aged guy or an incoherent former athlete. At least, not any time soon.

This is one of the many things that makes me agree with the point that ESPN isn't journalism, it's info-tainment, with all the seriousness and celebrity-obsession of US Weekly or National Enquirer.

And to tell the truth, I'm not sure professional sports deserve any better. Reporting on professional athletic performances is like reporting on movie characters as news: It's all just entertainment. I love NFL football, but let's not pretend that on-field performances (or off-field indiscretions) MATTER in any meaningful sense.

46
by mactbone (not verified) :: Sun, 01/01/2006 - 4:53pm

However there are stories in the sports world that should be very important; football franchises generate political news with stadium issues, the Carolina steroid situation is just as important as any drug ring, the Collective Bargaining agreement and the issues that the Union brings up with the league at various times have ended up in court; the unfortunate part is that most of that coverage is either done by a reporter in another field or poorly done by a sports reporter who doesn't understand the nuances of the issue.

47
by Tampa Bay Mike (not verified) :: Sun, 01/01/2006 - 5:35pm

Wow, we're now so p.c. that FOOTBALL fans are complaining about a highlight segment that features the glorification of vicious hits (legal or otherwise). There are many of us out here who like their FOOTBALL violent. The bad part about the segment is the announcers, not the choice of footage.